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Brandon Sanderson: He can finish fantasy novels

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
My first time reading Sanderson's writing was when he was completing someone else's life work. Robert Jordan passed away with The Wheel of Time unfinished, and Sanderson did a good job of tying off a ton of story threads and character arcs in the last three novels which he completed. After that I started reading the novels of his ridiculously ambitious "Cosmere" metaseries in publication order. His style is not my favorite. I generally prefer fantasy where the magic is less concrete, and while he's quite good at plot twists, his frequent deployment of them means you spend a lot of the time not actually understanding what a story is about until the big reveal. Despite this, I haven't finished any of his work without coming away with strong positive feelings.

I just finished The Way of Kings today. Part of me thinks that I've never read such a long book in which so little really seems to have happened. But I still found myself interested in the different subplots, and there are a bunch of big changes and revelations at the end that make me want to pick up the next one right away. It was basically an extremely long and detailed prologue to a story I'd like to see play out.

What's your favorite book by Sanderson? Is his YA stuff any good?
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Best is probably the Mistborn series for me, particularly the first one and Alloy of Law.

The worst Sanderson book is still really fun and breezy to read; you can also pretty much tell with 100% accuracy what video game he was playing when he came up with each book.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
I ended up enjoying his WoT books more than the preceding books, so I’m definitely open to more. Does he have any other series that are completed? I hate jumping into partially finished novel series because it’s awful having to wait literal decades for payoff.
 

jpfriction

You'll never take my hat away
His first novel is Elantris which is standalone (mostly? I think it has some related stuff later). I really liked it.

Legion is done now, I think, I can’t remember how the latest novella ended.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
A fair few; though they leave sequel hooks in place; Last Empire and Redeemers are completed series (former has a sequel series that’s unfinished), and most of the Cosmere books are interconnected but not really a series. Not any mode than, say, Marvel Comics is, at least.
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
He has a few one offs, like Elantris or Warbreaker. I mean, they are stand alone books that, if Sanderson is able to see through his preposterous ambitions for the Cosmere, will eventually be series.

I always come out of reading Sanderson having really enjoyed the book, but his books don't stick with me at all. I rarely feel inclined to reread them or think much about them. That said, I'll have the next Stormlight Archive book preordered and blow through it in a week or so.
 

Falselogic

Techno-Threadcromancer
(they/them)
Loved the Mistborn trilogy. I'm sure his new series Stormlight will be great as well. But, I don't read series anymore until they are complete.

You can guess who ruined that for me.
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
Elantris and Warbreaker both have sequels planned but work as standalone stories. Both Mistborn and Stormlight Archive have a lot more books coming but are structured to be made up of multiple shorter arcs.
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
I tried to read the first Mistborn book some years ago, but I gave up pretty quickly. It just kinda made me think I'd rather be playing it as a CRPG instead, and also he was going pretty overboard with the magic mechanics exposition.
 

Rosewood

The metal babble flees!
(she/her)
I've read Warbreaker and the first Mistborn book, and they felt more like "products" than something that came from the heart (to me)--workmanlike in prose and construction. I haven't given up on him, though. I have the first Stormlight book, so maybe third time will be the charm!
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
I have not read a Brandon Sanderson work that I did not enjoy, and I have read everything of his I could find.

If you want to dip your toes into Sanderson without too much commitment, I recommend the White Sand graphic novels, where some people can do magic with sand but everyone hates them. If you're looking for something a bit more substantial but not enormous, I recommend the Reckoners series (starting with Steelheart). If you're all in, then go for the Mistborn novels. I don't think White Sand is finished yet, but Steelheart is, and the original Mistborn trilogy is complete.

Most of Sanderson's novels take place in the "Cosmere" universe, as others have mentioned, and he's planned something silly like 40 books in that universe, but the connections between the various series are largely tenuous (at least for now). Notably, The Reckoners is completely standalone, the books are relatively short (for Sanderson, anyway), and the premise is, "What if having superpowers made you evil?"
 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)
I discovered Sanderson through Legion (it is finished, yes) but my favorite work from him might be unfinished forever: The Rythmatist is Harry Potter if wizards used chalk and mathematics instead of wands, and Hogwarts was in steampunk America instead of England, and Harry didn't have any magic at all. It's a great book, and it has one of my favorite end sequences of all time. It also has a hell of a sequel hook that might never get written, but at least the story is mostly stand-alone.

I'm also baffled that in the midst of the Golden Age of superhero movies, nobody has made a blockbuster movie out of the Reckoner trilogy, As a super-hero fan, I adored them, and they have some creative uses of superpowers. I ate them as candy, and I would read the heck out of a Firefight comic book.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Closest we got was Brightburn, and while I loved that, I think I’m the only one who remembers it exists at all.
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
The worst Sanderson book is still really fun and breezy to read; you can also pretty much tell with 100% accuracy what video game he was playing when he came up with each book.
You've said this more than once. What video game was he playing when he wrote each book?
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
You've said this more than once. What video game was he playing when he wrote each book?
Elantris::Dark Souls
Mistborn :: Dishonored
Stormlight :: Some manner of Musou
Rithmatist :: Arkanoid (maybe Devil Crush)
The Sky Is Yours :: Everspace

Redeemers And Warbreaker, I admit, escape me at the moment
 

jpfriction

You'll never take my hat away
Skyward definitely reads like he's pitching a video game. Especially in the second book where they practice navigating space labyrinths with sanity effects turned on
 

jpfriction

You'll never take my hat away
Hah, he has a "where do I start" section on his website:



WHERE DO I START?
IF YOU’RE NEW TO MY BOOKS, HERE’S A PRIMER ON WHERE TO START.
RECOMMENDED READING ORDER FOR COSMERE BOOKS
I recommended reading the books in sequential order rather than trying to dive into the second book in a series without having read the first book. That said, it really doesn’t matter which Cosmere series you start with, which means any of these books are good starting points:
There are tidbits in each of the books that inform the other books, but you don’t have to notice these things to enjoy the story by itself. Finding these easter eggs is one of the things that makes re-reading the books so much fun.
The Alloy of Law is an okay jumping in spot for the Cosmere, but keep in mind that this book has spoilers for the original Mistborn trilogy.
RECOMMENDED READING ORDER FOR NON-COSMERE BOOKS
Since these books aren’t interconnected, reading them in the sequential order of the respective series is recommended.
STILL NOT SURE?
Here are quick descriptions of a couple of my books to help you choose
Elantris: Story of a man who catches a terrible magical disease, and is thrown into a prison city for those with that disease. He tries to unravel the world’s magic system (which is now non-functional, and potentially the source of the disease) while surviving in terrible circumstances and trying to bring civilization back to those locked in the city with him
Mistborn: Heist story about a young woman recruited into a gang of thieves, trained to use magic and to imitate a noblewoman, then used in a plot to try and rob (and hopefully overthrow) the immortal emperor of the world. One part Ocean’s Eleven, one part Lord of the Rings, one part Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, one part My Fair Lady
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
Elantris and Mistborn were written before Dark Souls and Dishonored were made. Both are pretty good parallels though. I feel like I should be able to think of a game where you control magically control inanimate objects for Warbreaker but my mind is failing me
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I am also really bad at recalling the names of his books when they are not directly in front of me, apparently
 

shivam

commander damage
(he/hiim)
the next sanderson book is really good, and i can't wait to see what the finished edit looks like.
 

upupdowndown

REVOLUTION GRRR STYLE NOW
(he / him / his)
Personally, I've finished a few Sanderson books, and my conclusion is that I very much see why he appeals to many people, but I also understand I'll never be one of them.

In general, I'd say that Sanderson does a good job of rigorously thinking through magic and how it might affect his fantasy societies, but it feels flat to me because it's so overdetermined. It very much feels like, oh, a STEM approach to worldbuilding. Everything's dedicated to exploring the implications of One Big Idea.

He's competent and prolific. I can't hate. He's just not For Me.
 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)
Yes, he takes one idea and beats it into submission. But then he concludes instead of trying to stretch the idea too much. That's what I like about his worlbuilding, actually.... But then again. I'm more into his big concept SciFi work (Reckoners, Legion) than his fantasy work. I enjoy Reckoners in particular, where he dedicates three books to two single ideas (all superpowered people are villains and every superpowered person has a weakness) and then he's done.
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
Finished and it remained pretty cool. It also maintained the pattern of last minute plot twists that recontextualize the entire story.
 
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